As with most things in life, "What’s good for the goose is good for the gander." After years of being barred entry to the man cave – that mysterious lair for sports watching, video game playing and general tinkering – the ladies have responded with their own private sanctuaries.
The escapes for those of the female persuasion are typically well-appointed and sunlight-laden, and are used as anything from a yoga or art studio to a reading or tea room.
Ann Preischel’s Hamburg "she-shed" was inspired by childhood memories of the one her Aunt Jane had at the family farm in Youngstown.
"I felt like royalty in that little building; it was like something out of a movie," Preischel said of her aunt’s oasis. A sign reading "Velvet Hall" hung above the door and inside, visitors were surrounded by fresh flowers in Mason jars, antique tablecloths on every surface and welcoming throw pillows on the chairs. "It was her own personal castle."
A clear nod to her aunt’s homestead, the décor in Preischel’s shed might best be described as farmhouse chic. Choosing a mostly white motif, it is filled with charming collectables and a coziness that makes it the perfect place to enjoy a good book, play cards with friends or simply relax with her dog out of the sun’s hot rays.
Said Preischel, "It’s quaint. It’s quiet. It’s 30 feet away from my house. It’s the most affordable getaway I could have ever asked for!"
For Julie Berrigan of Lewiston, her private upstairs area is a bit more functional than fanciful. An independent jewelry and accessories stylist, it serves as a mini showroom of sorts and helps keep that part of her life organized.
"It’s my own little Pinterest room," said Berrigan, who also uses it for gift wrapping and crafting. "It keeps me from cluttering the kitchen countertops or dining room table. I love that it’s my own space and I can dump what I want in it and know where to find it."
Spending up to two hours a day in the hobby hideaway, Berrigan laughed that her two young daughters often ask their father where she is. And while they are certainly welcome to craft alongside her, it’s understood that this is Mommy’s room.
"Let’s just say they know to proceed with caution," joked Berrigan.
Sometimes your designated space can be more than just an escape…it can be a sacred place to nourish your mind, body and spirit.
Firm believers that creating peace around us inspires peace within us, Susan and Ciara Morreale – owners of Her Sanctuary, a boutique and collaborative workspace on Hertel Avenue – have teamed up with Roswell Park to create sanctuaries for women undergoing breast cancer treatment.
Using products from their store – including health and wellness books, meditation pillows, yoga mats, home décor, crystals, essential oils and diffusers, wellness teas, juices, snacks, and oxygen-increasing plants – the mother/daughter pair has designed a space within Roswell’s Resource Center to promote healing and well-being for all patients. Later this fall, they will begin drawing one name each month, to help that woman create a personal sanctuary in her home or office.
"Everyone’s space is going to be very individualized, and very much about what each person needs to nurture their soul and take care of themself from the inside out," said Susan Morreale.
Celebrating ten years as a breast cancer survivor, Susan herself was treated at Roswell, so this is an especially personal endeavor. "There are so many decisions these women have to make about what they’re going to do; it will just be nice for them to be surrounded by empowering, inspirational, feel-good stuff," she added.